SEXIST STILL IN STYLE: 10 Laws That Need To Be Outlawed
By: Francesca Ricciarini
To see that sexism is still alive and kicking, look no further than some of our fine nation’s laws. While some are silly throw backs that simply haven’t been updated, many are very real. And very scary. A good reminder of what we are fighting for.
Cleavage in Cleveland
In Ohio it is illegal to wear shirts with “less than fully opaque covering” over the breast region. In fact, only Hawaii, Maine, New York, Ohio and Texas have laws on the books that specifically say women can go topless wherever men can do so legally.
Withdrawing Consent in the Carolinas
1979 State V. Way the supreme court ruled, “if the actual penetration is accomplished with the woman’s consent, the accused is not guilty of rape.” Since then, that law has stood. Regardless of if a woman is in pain, uncomfortable, or even just changes her mind, in North Carolina if she says ‘no’ and the man continues penetration, he will not be charged with rape.
Child Marriage—Still Legal in 2023
In twenty states there is no age minimum for child marriage with parental or judicial consent. This law, or lack thereof, directly targets young girls, as 86% of child marriages are between a minor female and an adult male. Marital exemptions apply to statutory rape laws, meaning statutory rape is legal if the two parties are married. While technically in America you have to be 18 to get married, many states allow exceptions if there is parental consent or if the female is pregnant.
Rapists with (Parental) Rights in Minnesota
Even if a person has been proven guilty of rape in a court of law, in Minnesota they are still entitled to parental rights over the resulting child. This law is inhuman in a plethora of ways. First, the law requires the rape victim to maintain contact with her rapist, which completely discounts the the very real trauma of rape and the PTSD that plagues many victims of rape even years after the assault. Second, the law is literally giving a criminal unsupervised access to a child. And, in 24 other states, the rapist needs to be convicted of the rape in order to be denied parental rights which penalizes the women who, for a variety of reasons, choose not to press charges.
Too Much Skin in the House!
Women are forbidden from wearing sleeveless tops or dresses in congress and they also can’t wear open toe shoes. Reporter Haley Byrd was denied access and told she was “violating the rules” one time because she was wearing a sleeveless dress!
Can’t Kick Your Heels Up in Cali
In Carmel, CA a woman must have a permit to wear shoes with heels over two inches high and less than one square inch thick. At its inception, the municipal code was written to protect the town from lawsuits because people in heels were prone to falling on the town’s bumpy cobblestones. While the law is no longer enforced, permits are actually still available at City Hall!
Don’t Jump!!! (unless you’re married)
In Florida, unmarried women are not allowed to parachute on Sundays. The punishment? Fine or time (jail time, that is). But if you’re really itching to jump—don’t let this article stop you. Chances are, today’s law enforcement doesn’t even know this law is on the books!
Women Don’t Wear the Pants in Tucson, Arizona
Crazy but true. In Tucson, women and forbidden from wearing pants! In fact, when the law was written, it was forbidden for anyone to be seen in public wearing any article of clothing that was “not of his or her sex.” Chances are this odd and, quite frankly, offensive law was penned during ‘old western’ times and today it is no more enforced than women riding sidesaddle.
Update on Upskirts
Taking a photo up a woman’s skirt is perverse, invasive and just plain wrong. But in dozens of states, it isn’t a crime. As recently as 2016, The Georgia Court of Appeals ruled that unless the victim was ‘behind closed doors’ in a place they assumed they had privacy, it is perfectly legal to take a picture up their skirt. In Oregon, a conviction could not even stick for a man who took photo up the skirt of a 13 year old. Thankfully, Georgia came to its senses in 2017 and made ‘upskirting’ a crime, as did Massachusetts and Texas. Hopefully other states where it is still legal will soon get the picture (or not)!
Not Conscious? Not rape.
In 2016 in Oklahoma court ruled that is is not a crime to force someone to have oral sex if they are unconscious from drinking.
The exact wording of the ruling bears repeating, as it is almost impossible to believe: “Forcible sodomy cannot occur where a victim is so intoxicated as to be completely unconscious at the time of the sexual act of oral copulation”. Sadly, this ruling smells a lot like victim blaming.